Making the vital choices for President-elect Donald Trump’s White House cabinet has sparked intense infighting, CNN reported Monday, with one source calling it a “knife fight.”
The jobs to be filled include national security positions and West Wing posts, the television news network said, as Trump gathered with transition team members in New York.
“The disagreements highlight the dilemma faced by Trump, who is now torn between a campaign promise to shake up Washington and the need to build a national security team with policy experience,” the report said.
Among those mentioned as possible secretary of state are hawkish former diplomat John Bolton and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Retired General Michael Flynn “is a possible national security adviser pick, and Senator Jeff Sessions may be in the running for secretary of defense or attorney general,” CNN added.
Trump made his first two key appointments on Sunday — onetime Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus will be his White House chief of staff, and anti-establishment media firebrand Steve Bannon his chief strategist.
“Getting his arms around foreign policy” is one of Trump’s four top priorities, along with health care, immigration and taxes, as he prepares for his first 100 days as president, Priebus said.
“I see President-elect Trump being very calm and cool and collected. And prepared to lead the American people,” Priebus — seen as an establishment counter-weight to Bannon — told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The appointment of Bannon — the head of ultra-conservative Breitbart News who has championed the so-called “alt-right” perspective — has raised hackles, with Jewish and Muslim leaders expressing concerns.
More cabinet-level appointments will be rolled out this week, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters in New York.
Trump was due to meet with Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Tuesday, transition officials said, fueling speculation that cabinet and other major announcements are imminent.